PH, Kuwait to sign MOA to protect OFWs on May 11
The Philippines and Kuwait will sign on May 11 a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to give protection to overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the Gulf state, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
“The signing of the MOA is expected on May 11,” Roque said Wednesday during a press briefing at the Philippine Embassy Kuwait, a video of which was posted on his Facebook Page.
The briefing was also attended by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Under the MOA, Roque said the Philippines and Kuwait would create a special unit of police that would coordiante with the Philippine Embassy reagrding complaints of OFWs.
Roque said the MOA would also have provisions that would allow OFWs to have eight hours minimum of sleep and to keep their cellphones with them so they could call for help in case of emergencies.
He added that the deal would order employers to provide food to Filipino domestic workers, give them one day off a week, and deposit their passports at the Philippine Embassy.
Bello said the Kuwaiti government had agreed to allow the return of undocumented OFWs to the Philippines at their expense.
“Nangako yung Minister of Foreign Affairs na doon sa more than a little 600 eh mayroon yatang maiiwan na 62 dahil may kaso pa. Pero yung walang kaso pauuwin na nila at their expense,” Bello said.
Roque said 150 OFWs would already join them in returning to the Philippines on May 11.
“Ang sabi naman po nila ay nakikipag-ugnayan lang sila sa Ministry of Interior at mukhan naman pong positibo at parang magkakaroon naman po ng balita dalawa hanggang tatlong araw,” Roque said.
Lifting of total ban
Bello said he would recommenend to President Rodrigo Duterte a “partial lifting” of the deployment ban in Kuwait.
“Baka partial lifting lang to allow the deployment of skilled workers. Yun ang ire-recommend ko kay Presidente. Kailangan tignan muna natin yung immediate effect ng lalagdaan nating MOA,” he said.
The Philippine government has imposed a ban in Kuwait following the reported abuse of OFWs there, particularly the death of Filipino maid Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment a year after she was reported missing. /atm
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